Bill would protect older job seekers from discrimination

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    A bill is going through Congress that would prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants based on their age.

    The US House of Representatives passed the Protect Older Job Applicants (POJA) Act of 2021 on November 4th with 224 to 200 votes, with seven Republicans backing the bill. Next up is the Senate.

    If passed by the Senate and enacted by the President, the POJA Act would amend the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 to better protect applicants specifically from age discrimination.

    Section 623 (a) (2) of the 1967 Act states that it is unlawful for an employer to “restrict, segregate or classify its workers in any way that would deprive a person of employment opportunities or tend to deprive them of employment opportunities or affect them in any other way ”. Status as an employee based on the age of this person. “

    The POJA Act would amend this section by adding the phrase “or as an applicant for employment” after the word “employee”.

    In a statement following the House vote, MP Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) Stated:

    “While many employers and legal scholars have interpreted the ADEA to apply to job applicants and employees, two federal courts have ruled that some of the ADEA’s state anti-age discrimination provisions apply only to current employees, not job applicants. These narrow interpretations contradict the intentions of the creators of the ADEA and the POJA law specifically includes job applicants who are protected by the ADEA. “

    In addition, the POJA Act would require the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency, to investigate the number of age discrimination job applicants and make recommendations on how to combat age discrimination in the application process.

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